October 7th, 2011
09:21 PM ET

Listen Up, America! World reflections on Steve Jobs and American innovation

Editor's Note: Every week, the Global Public Square brings you some must-read editorials from around the world addressed to America and Americans. The series is called Listen up, America!

Australia—“Thousands protested against capitalism yesterday in New York and Washington, and millions supported their anti-corporate message online,” says an editorial in the Sydney-based Australian.

“At the same time, thousands of people placed flowers and candles at Apple stores, and millions more posted messages online, to mourn the death of one of the most successful corporate leaders we have seen.”

Germany—“The 20th century was called the American Century, not least by Americans themselves. The reasons had mostly to do with political power,” says an editorial in the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung.

"The 21st century also began as an American Century, but mostly because of companies like Microsoft and Apple and figures like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Gates has always stood for software that influences a large portion of the new world. Jobs, on the other hand, has created a significant group of devices that define the first phase of the digital era, in style as well as popular thought."

Russia—“For those who dream of a different Russia, Jobs was living proof of the possibility of honest success,” writes Roland Oliphant in the Moscow Times.

"Each time a well-heeled businessman scrolls through the contacts on his iPhone or a Duma deputy idles away a parliamentary debate playing Angry Birds, they are confirming [economist Sergei] Alexashenko's insight on the example Jobs provides: that a fortune could be created 'without oil, gas, high-placed friends; without kickbacks and embezzlement.'"

Israel—“The story of Jobs' life reads like the American dream come true,” says an editorial in the Tel Aviv-based Haaretz.

“He showed humanity that the value of technology lies first and foremost in the understanding of the person using it. And he taught business people that they must think first of all of the consumers and if they know how to talk to them, they will grow and prosper.”

United Arab Emirates—“The gadgets he helped create changed the way an entire generation approached technology,” says an editorial in the Abu Dhabi-based National.

“Mr Jobs' life was, in many respects, the opposite of his products: jagged, jarring and rich with adversity. He was adopted as a child, a college dropout and the father of a daughter out of wedlock. His genius and his drive was, in many ways, an anomaly.”

Saudi Arabia—“For sheer vision in both design and technology, which he combined with formidable entrepreneurial and marketing skills, Jobs surely ranks among the all-time business greats,” says an editorial in the Jeddah-based Arab News.

“The phenomenal rise of Apple from its beginnings in a garage, where two hippies decided to build a better personal computer, to become the world’s most valuable company by stock price, will be a subject of business studies for years to come.”

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Topics: Innovation • Listen up!

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Rz

    Computers, technology, Internet, cell phones, global communications on a personal level. Absolutely fantastic. My first thoughts were "what amazing tools"' powerful, fast, with infinite applications. But what I saw them being used for mostly was entertainment. OK, that's ok. But what an expensive waste. But more recently it may have helped overthrow oppressive governments! Now that's something! And if you go to the right places, you can find some real interesting stuff. One of the more interesting characters (in my opinion of course) that everyone should Google is Paul Craig Roberts. Then watch his video interviews. And hope we can put our tools and ourselves to good use.

    October 8, 2011 at 1:50 am | Reply
  2. David Adamson Jr

    I wish the restrictions on Stem Cell Research introduced by US Senate in 2001 never happened. Chances to grow up a new liver for Steve Jobs would be much higher now in 2011, if that ban was not addopted back in 2001. From Wikipedia: "In February 2001, George W. Bush requested a review of the NIH's guidelines, and after a policy discussion within his circle of supporters, implemented a policy in August of that year to limit the number of embryonic stem cell lines that could be used for research.[1] (While he claimed that 78 lines would qualify for federal funding, only 19 lines were actually available.[1])"

    October 8, 2011 at 3:25 am | Reply
    • Rz

      Yes, this is sad and torturous but, like nuclear technology, there may be some pros and cons. What might really be an incredible story is the development of DCA as a cure for cancer. I don't know what to make of it yet. I know people who have pulled out all the stops trying to beat cancer. And now I'm telling anyone to look into DCA treatment, certainly as a last resort if anything.

      October 8, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  3. j. von hettlingen

    Finally the Americans take to the streets. They should have done so in July, amid the partisan brinkmanship which ultimately could have led to a U.S. default. I thought then it were the most appropriate time to voice one's grievances!

    October 8, 2011 at 4:48 am | Reply
    • Rz

      Yes, the timing may have been better. But stress levels and more immediate critical needs are weighing heavy on us (the proletariat, which now includes much of the middle class, and even some of the previously well to do).

      October 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  4. j. von hettlingen

    The most impressive comment on Steve Jobs – untimely – death comes from Roland Oliphant of Moscow Times.
    "Jobs was living proof of the possibility of honest success,....a fortune could be created 'without oil, gas, high-placed friends; without kickbacks and embezzlement.",

    October 8, 2011 at 4:57 am | Reply
  5. Eme Abiayi

    I join all Americans in mourning the death of Jobs. On personal level his example inspired my kids into ICT studies. On morality in wealth creation, I am elated to read about this man who created fortune "without oil, gas, highly-placed friend; without kick-backs and embezzlement" Who in this world can help youths in my country Nigeria absorb & popularize that hard truth written by that famous Russian economist?

    October 8, 2011 at 11:02 am | Reply
    • Rz

      Although technology, science, and society can change rapidly, it takes generations upon generations for human nature to evolve even just a bit, if any. And it's human nature that is the underlying factor. And unfortunately, getting rid of it would probably result in human extinction. So, unless the leadership of the entire world can take a stand in unison, individual nations will remain at the mercy of their political systems and their rulers. The good news is that over time the positions of formidable power are increasingly being filled by persons of a more more benevolent nature. The sad news is that the whole process cannot move forward fast enough and is susceptible to all aspects of human nature on a continual basis.

      October 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  6. Onesmallvoice

    Of course the 20th century was called the American one because as a nation we have only too successfully bullied the rest of the world into accepting our will. But like the Romans, we are starting to fall into decline because of our most unsrupulous politicians and top military brass. This goes to show just how history repeats itself over and over again!

    October 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  7. j. von hettlingen

    Yes, ancient empires lasted longer. in modern times the merry-go-round spins faster!

    October 9, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Reply
  8. lourette

    Everyone living outside the usa go watch the 'occupy wall street' and occupy together' protests on youtube. The media is not giving these protesters any coverage. Millions are in the streets attacked, beaten, pepper sprayed and arrested and brutalized by the police and the media is siding with the brutalizers against the people. America is not free. Americans are not allowed to protest. Americans have no freedom of speech. Our leaders are oppressors, communists, greedy thieves, and anyone who dares to complain is brutalized in broad daylight. Watch and inform yourself. Don't let the media deny you the right to know.

    October 9, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Reply
  9. Gethetruth

    The Sydney reporters got it all wrong ! The occupy Wall Street movement is not about anti-capittalism, it is about financial fraud and crime ! Whether a country is socialist, communist or capitalist, crime must be punished. Capitalism is not a system of fraud or a system of exploitation. Capitalism functions under the Governments, not the other way around. Stupid reporters.

    October 10, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Reply

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